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Despite the creation last September of the new grade of "assistant head", vacancies for deputy heads have continued to rise. There is little sign of deputies being replaced by assistant heads.

During the first quarter of 2001, the number of advertisements in The TES for deputy head posts increased by around 100 a month compared with the same period last year. By the end of March this year there were 1,340 advertisements, compared with 1,063 during the first three months of 2000. The increased turnover doesn't seem to be confined to any one part of England and Wales, rather it is spread across all regions.

London leads the way in re-advertisements. At the time of writing, 15 out of this year's 181 deputy posts in the capital have reappeared. Most of these are i primary schools, although two London secondaries have re-advertised for deputy heads. So far, only 9 per cent of deputy head posts advertised by London schools in the first three months have been re-advertised. Last year more than 40 per cent of deputy head posts originally advertised during the first three months of 2000 were eventually re-advertised.

Elsewhere in England and Wales, 85 out of the 1,159 deputy head posts have been re-advertised. This is around 7 per cent of posts. Last year around 20 per cent of posts outside London ended up being re-advertised, with more rural schools re-advertising than schools in the large urban areas of the Midlands and the north of England. The next month should reveal whether this year will be as bad as last year.

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